By Joey Bowling
America has been nicknamed the land of opportunity, but not all get those big breaks. The possibilities are also quickly drying up if you were not born here.
With Senate bill 1720, also known as the Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment (RAISE) Act, immigration moves from a system of jilted eligibility to points decided by factors such as education and language. Now, it seems to me that the only thing that America is raising is the amount of vitriol and the unwillingness to help those in need as immigrants flee their homes to survive. However, before I can talk about the monstrosity of this bill, let us look at immigration as it is now.
“We’ve had the same immigration laws for a little over 50 years, so we at least need to revisit them and see what maybe we can keep and see what needs to be changed,” AP U.S. History teacher Mark McKay said.
Immigration as it is now is more humane than aforementioned bill would like it to be. If you have a family member in the U.S., then the process is easier for you. However, if you do not, the process is quite lengthy and expensive. McKay said that if you do not have a large amount of money or a system helping you on this side, then the only way to quickly get into the country is by illegal means.
“The pull of the United States, it’s a very attractive place to live because there are economic opportunities and it is a relatively safe place to live,” McKay said.
However, the aforementioned bill would like to limit those opportunities and safe places for many. America was built on immigration from all around the world. There is the slavery that moved many African Americans here and the Mexican Americans who came here en masse during the early twentieth century due to an open border policy. However, with the RAISE Act, Georgia Senator David Perdue and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton hope to destroy that history.
With the act in place, American immigration would move onto a point system that makes immigration a concern of economics. By accruing thirty points, a person would be able to immigrate into this country as long as they have a job offer waiting for them with an American company.
The different categories that participants are judged on is as follows: age, language, income, and education. The reason this bill is abhorrent is due to the language and education “bonuses” that are practically required to immigrate into the United States under this bill.
By giving added points to English speakers and those with US-based doctorates, they are effectively eliminating the immigrants these senators seem to have a problem with: the ones that do not appear to be useful. How can you possibly contribute to the economy when you are fleeing from war-torn Syria? The time seems to fly by and English acquisition is all but nil when you are trying to keep a mortar shell from hitting your head.
The hypocrisy comes from the fact that these government officials cannot cherry pick the best candidates that come into this country. Immigration has represented hope ever since its conception. When the pilgrims came over on the Mayflower, they were escaping persecution for their religion.
Syrian immigrants flee their war-torn country, Latino immigrants migrate for a better life, and adding an economic edge to immigration removes the core value that it stands for: human benevolence.
Immigration procedures as of now are far from perfect. It is extremely hard for low-income people to come to the US. However, if the nation is going to continue to call itself “The Great American Melting Pot,” it cannot pick and choose what ingredients go into it.
The entire discussion of this bill, and of immigration in general, falls down to one question: is immigration for profit or for humanity? I hope this country can come to the conclusion I have; humanity should be at the core of these kind of decisions.
McKay wanted one thing to be known however, “We are a nation of immigrants, we should continue to be open to people.”